The Schools Of Thought: Where Did They Come From?

The Schools Of Thought: Where Did They Come From?

There are two major sects in Islam, Sunni and Shia. Sunni are the largest group, roughly 85% of the Muslim world

The Sunni Muslim world is dominated by four major Madhaahib, or Schools of Thought.

The Madhhab are not sects; the basic beliefs between them are essentially the same. What differs is their approach to Fiqh, or Islamic Law.

Shias are a different sect because some of their fundamental beliefs differ vastly from Sunnis.

Also, the word “Shia” means sect.

Sunni And Shi’ite

Sunnis and Shia both share the same beliefs about Islamic monotheism, and the Prophethood of Muhammad. Both also accept the Quran as the word of Allah, and practice the same five pillars of Islam.

The Shia accept most of the beliefs that Sunnis have. But there are some very fundamental Shia beliefs that Sunnis do not accept.

Shi’ites believe that most of the companions betrayed Prophet Muhammad after he died. They also hold a very high opinion of Ali and some members of his family that is near the level of Prophethood.

In some extreme cases, Ali is raised to the level of divinity.

Shi’ites also believe that all laws must come from certain members of Ali’s descendants called Imams.

These beliefs are not accepted by Sunnis which leads to the Shia being a different sect.

The Sunni Schools of Thought differ in the various day to day implementation of Islamic laws. But not in any fundamental beliefs.

That’s why a person who follows the Hanafi School of Thought would not have a problem making prayer behind an Imam from the Maliki School of Thought. But both a Maliki and a Hanafi would have problems praying behind someone from the Shia sect.

The Schools of Thought would differ on the rules of Islamic practices, but not on Islamic beliefs. Perhaps the most visible example is the prayer.

Each School of Thought has slight variations in the prayer, although the overall performance of the prayer is almost the same.

The prayers of a Shafii would have the same movements, sequence of movements, and words, as the prayer of a Hanbali.

But there may be differences in minor things such as the placement of the hands.

Where Did the Islamic Schools of Thought Come From?

The Schools of Thought developed over time. And even though there are four major schools now, there have been many more over the years.

Show Notes

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